Blyth Festival embarking on outdoor season, indoor theater on horizon

It’s still covered in snow, but the Blyth Festival’s outdoor Harvest Stage will soon be center stage for midwestern Ontario theatre.

“This is all going to go away. The sun will come out and we are going to have an absolutely phenomenal season of theatre,” says Blyth Festival Artistic Director, Gil Garratt.

The Blyth Festival has decided to keep its shows outdoors for now, even though capacity limits no longer remain on indoor performances. Garratt says they are admittedly taking a precautionary approach to the 2022 season.

“We know that this is the safest place [outdoors] that folks can be. We want to make sure that everybody feels welcome, that people feel they can come back,” he says.

Last year capacity was capped at 100 people at the outdoor Harvest Stage. Organizers will start at 150 this year with hopes of reaching 250 patterns by mid-summer. Still less than the approximately 450 seats available inside Blyth’s Memorial Hall, the festival’s stage for the past 45 years.

“Maybe we’ll be able to do that in August or September [a return to inside performances].We are looking into the future to do that, but for starters, we’re going to meet outdoors in this beautiful space,” says Garratt, while standing on the snow-covered Harvest Stage.

Regardless, Blyth’s four outdoor shows will remain outdoors for the full June to September season with hopes of adding new indoor shows by late summer.

Harvest Stage shows, which were limited to single actor plays last season, will return to full cast and full production.

“We’ll have the whole nine yards. The full Blyth Festival experience,” says Garratt.

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